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Match Reports

Lions gain point at Stoke

Our report from the bet365 Stadium

11 January 2020

Stoke City and 10-man Millwall played out a 0-0 draw in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon.

In a drab affair of few clear-cut chances, Shaun Williams was shown a straight red card five minutes from time.

Gary Rowett made five changes from last Saturday's Emirates FA Cup victory over Newport County, with Shaun Hutchinson, Williams, Jed Wallace, Tom Bradshaw and Mahlon Romeo returning to the side in place of Jason McCarthy, Matt Smith, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Jiri Skalak and Billy Mitchell, who all dropped to the bench.

After an even start it was the home side who had the first opportunity, but Tyrese Campbell blazed over with six minutes played. Six minutes later, Hutchinson won the ball back from a Potters throw and Bradshaw advanced on goal, but his effort was tipped behind by Jack Butland.

Stoke's main threat was coming from set-pieces - The Potters had three corners in a row at the midway point of the first-half - but The Lions' defence was standing firm. At the other end of the pitch, Millwall were enjoying spells of possession in the opposition half, but were unable to penetrate the back-line.

In a game of little action and few chances, Williams' deft clip to Murray Wallace on the half-hour mark almost led to a Lions chance, but the left-back's cross was parried out by Butland and then cleared by the Stoke defence. Romeo then raced to latch on to a pass two minutes later, but his attempt was saved.

The Potters had their best chance of the half with 34 minutes on the clock, but after Bruno Martins Indi crossed for Sam Vokes, the striker's header crept just wide of the post. 

The second-half was eight minutes old when the opening opportunity came, and it went the way of Stoke, but Nick Powell shot over. On the hour-mark Vokes nodded into the path of James McClean, but the winger sliced his shot when in on goal.

In a move that then perhaps summed up the game as a whole, Powell's trickery set McClean away down Stoke's left-hand side, but the Irishman got his cross horribly wrong, ballooning the ball into the supporters situated behind the goal.

The closest anyone had come to goal came with 64 minutes on the clock. A clip into the area from Joe Allen saw Bartosz Bialkowski punch, but only into the path of Campbell - he looked to guide the ball towards goal, but Cooper was well placed to hack the ball away off the line.

There was a shout for a Millwall penalty shortly after as Bradshaw tumbled in the penalty area - although perhaps a push on Hutchinson warranted more of a shout moments before - but referee Jeremy Simpson was uninterested.

The biggest flashpoint came with five minutes remaining as Williams was shown a red card. After a Cooper header was cleared off the line, Williams and Liam Lindsay challenged for the ball - the midfielder's higher jump meant his arm accidentally striking the face of the defender and Simpson showing the Irishman to an early bath.

It was backs-to-the-wall after that, but The Lions held firm to claim a point and stretch their unbeaten run on the road.

Stoke City: Butland, Allen, Lindsay, Batth, Vokes, McClean (Verlinden 79'), T. Smith, Martins Indi (Gregory 89'), Clucas, Powell, Campbell. Subs not used: Davies, Ince, Cousins, Collins, Woods.

Booking: Lindsay

Millwall: Bialkowski, M. Wallace, Hutchinson, Cooper, Williams, J. Wallace (Mitchell 90+3'), Bradshaw (M. Smith 68'), Romeo, Pearce, Molumby, Mahoney (Ferguson 61'). Subs not used: Steele, McCarthy, Bodvarsson, Skalak.

Booking: Smith

Sent Off: Williams

Referee: Jeremy Simpson

Attendance: 22,515 (1,027)

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